By Rebecca Gardon
Yes, it’s true – we’re mad for monchong! A Hawaiian treasure, monchong is the name used in Hawaii for two species of deep sea pomfret found throughout the warm waters of the Pacific at 800 to 1,200 feet. The predominant species, Taractichthys steindachneri, is known as the sickle pomfret due to the forked shape of its fins and beautiful, large, gunmetal-black scales.
Sickle pomfret is the species of monchong we sell here at Catalina Offshore Products. It is easily distinguishable from its cousin, the lustrous pomfret (Eumegistus illustris), which has bronze skin color, larger eyes, and a thicker body.
Delicate yet decadent, monchong has a highly transparent, clear, white flesh with pinkish tones that cooks up snow white and flaky. It is firm in texture with a moderately sweet, rich flavor similar to black cod. Because of its high oil content, this delicious fish is well suited for grilling but it can also be broiled, sautéed and baked. It is also perfect for tempura!
Monchong is not a targeted species, rather it is caught incidentally in fisheries targeting tuna, snapper and other species. There are also no well-defined seasonal trends in availability. The lack of consistent availability of this fish is part of what makes it so exotic and desirable. It is definitely a special occasion fish and in growing demand with chefs.
Look for monchong in our online store or in our fresh fish market. When you see it, we recommend you don’t wait to purchase it!
Quick Cooking Tip: For an easy, no fuss preparation with lots of flavor, take a cue from friend and food blogger Caron Golden. She slices 3/4-inch pieces of monchong, slathers on some olive oil, and adds lemon juice and seven-spice shichimi togarashi seasoning. Then she simply puts the fish on her stovetop grill. It takes about three minutes or so to cook.